First the story, then a few comments:
More than twenty years ago, Remote Viewing (RV) was promoted as a new method for discovering and using the psychic ability of clairvoyance, or extrasensory sight. Since I’d been learning about human consciousness and what our minds can do, I was very curious about this kind of ESP. The claim was that it could even be taught to people like me who didn’t have psychic abilities, so I signed up for a long weekend’s training.
About 30 of us stayed in an old set of buildings, a former school, and met in a large classroom filled with wooden desks. We were taught the protocol developed by the Army in conjunction with researchers from the Stanford Research Institute. You can say many things about our military institutions, but you wouldn’t call them “New Age-y” or “woo woo.” They had spent years designing procedures that really did allow the viewers to “see” chosen sites.
Our trainer introduced us to the initial relaxation process and the steps that lead to accessing a view of the “target” which, in training sessions, usually involves a site with distinct features that might be easily seen, reported, and identified. We practiced for two days with different targets such as a sunken World War II battleship, the Grand Canyon, and an ancient temple. Photographs of many sites had been gathered in advance by the trainer and then, before the weekend, he randomly selected a few targets and hid each of them inside two large manila envelopes. Then, before a viewing session, one double envelope was placed on a table at the front of the room.
At the end of the second day we were given an overnight assignment – to have a dream about the target that had been put that evening in its double envelope on the table. Although I remember dreams, that doesn’t usually happen on command and I was pretty sure this was an impossible assignment for me.
In the morning I’d had, not a dream, but a single vivid image that made no sense at all. It was of a glowing, pale, red-gold jingle shell suspended against a vast field of blue. That was all, and it was unlike any dream I’d ever had. It was very lovely to see but I was certain it couldn’t have anything to do with the target. When we gathered again after breakfast in the large classroom, the trainer opened the envelopes and showed us the photograph: it was of Mars as seen from the Earth – just the planet and the sky.
I was stunned.
In terms of representing the target in a dream, I’d nailed it!
(The image at the top of this post is of a jingle shell in a field of blue – like my dream vision.)
So, what to make of this? In Wikipedia Remote Viewing is called a “pseudoscience,” but for me this was not a pseudo-experience. Using the sensible advice to explore as many other possibilities as we can to explain an anomalous event, I began wondering how to explain it. My mind raced through different possibilities – but what could this have been other than that I had “remote viewed” the assigned target?
The question then might be why did I see a jingle shell when the target was a planet? This was a symbolic image rather than an accurate, literal representation. The answer is that when information is downloaded from what I’ll call here the non-material thought stream, it is often in this form. A picture really can be worth a thousand words. It certainly was an efficient way to communicate the target to me. I’m a life-long shell hunter and the jingle shell is one of my favorites. It is lustrous, appears in colors from dark grey or black to white, in pearly pinks, glowing golds, and coral tones, and it has a bumpy surface. The field of blue the shell was suspended in seems an obvious way for my dream-mind to depict space.
There are people who assume that because what is seen by remote viewers is often not a clearly defined scene or a detailed site such as you would actually see in a photograph, that it’s worthless – or a fraud. Highly accurate, realistic information can be gained by skilled viewers, but often what is presented is a more general representation. A picture is worth a thousand words: the human mind can quickly capture in images and sense impressions what might take paragraphs to describe. The RV method also includes thorough procedures for interpreting what has been perceived. There is a great deal more to say about RV techniques – but not in this post.
For me “seeing” Mars made me give up my certainty that even if this form of awareness existed, it wasn’t something I could know about directly. This opening led to other experiences as I explored intuition, psychic phenomena, and subtle energies. Psychologist Charles Tart has written,
“My studies have convinced me that so-called ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ experience is just the tip of the iceberg and we have possibilities that are not only exciting but which make more sense of the human condition than ordinary knowledge alone.” *
I’m not interested in promoting RV – although I do want to counter the rigid skepticism of Wikipedia – but I am very interested in encouraging everyone to seek their own experiences of the non-material dimensions of reality. I also want to support balance: it’s important to neither accept blindly nor to dismiss too quickly the evidence of those dimensions.
There are many good books about Remote Viewing, but at the head of the list I would put Joseph McMoneagle’s MIND TREK: Exploring Consciousness, Time, and Space Through Remote Viewing. (Published by Hampton Roads, 1993, 1997.)
* Charles Tart wrote this in his Introduction to McMoneagle’s book.
And, it is important to choose Remote Viewing trainers who are truly well-trained and respected.